Feb 122015

A big part of maintaining your furnace is regularly changing out or cleaning the filters. Your filters should at the very least be checked every 30 days if not changed out that frequently, but how do you know what filters to use as replacements? There are a few different kinds of furnace filters available, from cheap disposable fiberglass filters to higher-grade 3M furnace filters. You need to weigh each filter’s advantages and disadvantages whenever you shop for replacements.

Kinds of Furnace Filters

Fiberglass Filters

Fiberglass filters are the cheapest furnace filters available, and they are popular among renters or those who don’t have a lot of money to spend. Fiberglass filters are disposable, and they can be purchased for between $1 and $2. Unfortunately, they also only have a minimum efficiency reporting value or MERV rating of of two or three. This means that they are fairly inefficient when it comes to cleaning the air in your home.

Pleated Filters

Pleated filters are popular among those who want something more effective than fiberglass filters yet still don’t want to spend a lot of money. They have a MERV rating of about six, and they usually cost less than $5. The biggest downside is that they do add more resistance to airflow and can make your furnace more expensive to operate.

Electrostatic Filters

Disposable electrostatic filters are composed of self-charging electrostatic fibers that attract small particles. This gives them a respectable MERV rating of 10, but they also cost $10. That may not sound like much, but that price tag adds up when you have to purchase new filters every few months.

If you want to save money in the long run, you can always go with permanent electrostatic filters for a price of $15 to $20. These do have a less effective MERV rating of 8, but they only need to be cleaned every few months as opposed to replaced.

High-Efficiency Pleated Filters

High-Efficiency pleated filters are the most effective filters available. They are made from synthetic cotton, they are four or five inches thick, and they have a MERV rating of 14 to 16. Unfortunately, they cannot be installed in every home. They can only be used in certain buildings due to their size. They also have a high price tag of $100, making them more expensive than other filters.

These are the most common options you have when you need to select furnace filters. Each have their own pros and cons that you need to weigh, so make sure to do plenty of research, and choose the best filter for your furnace and your budget.


Photo credit: airsponge.com

  12 Responses to “Pros and Cons of Several Types of Furnace Filters”


    This was interesting to read. I know nothing about what kind of filter we have on ours.


    I’ll be saving this for reference later. I don’t know much about furnace filters, so this is perfect!


    I’ve always gone with the pleated filters because they’re inexpensive. Then I can change them every month (if I remember). :)


    My sister purchased a too high of a filter for their house and it cause condensation on their ductwork.


    Great information for people with allergies!


    now this article reminds me of getting some furnace filters…thanks for sharing!


    We do change our filters often. Hubby’s in charge of that, and he does a great job keeping up.


    Great comparison list! I normally don’t pay attention to these filters, but good to pass on to the hubby!


    These are great tips! We actually change ours every season and it can be confusing when there are so many to choose from!


    Maintaining the furnace is always so important & I understand Cleaning or Changing the filters regularly helps a lot indeed. I love all those options you have listed in selecting the best furnace filter, which gives a better idea to chose the one which is cost effective as well.


    Good thing we don’t have a furnace to filter LOL. the house is messy enough.


    Thanks for all the pointers. I do not know much about this sort of thing. This is a great reference.

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